Updated: 22-Nov-2002 NATO Speeches


22 November


by the Head of the Delegation of Belarus at the EAPC Meeting at the level of Heads of State and Government

Distinguished Mr. Secretary-General.

Distinguished Heads of States and Governments, Heads of Delegations.

I am addressing this Summit as a Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Republic of Belarus.

The President instructed me to make the following statement.

The NATO decision to deny the participation of the President of the Republic of Belarus in the EAPC Summit, the Czech decision not to issue him an entry visa to the Czech Republic is an ignominious act.

Ignominious not for Belarus, but for those who made and implemented this decision.
For those, who are still existing in a "Cold War" regime and are not able to get rid of its malignant rudiments.

For those, who do not perceive politics without hypocrisy, double standards, explicit arbitrariness and primitive blackmail.

Belarus has all the rights for such an assessment.
What is the basis for the demonstratively discriminative decision on Belarus that was taken by you, dear Sirs?
Name a legal document which gave you such a right!
Give a clear and concrete answer to the question: What Belarus and its President are "guilty" of vis-a-vis the Alliance?

You called your decision directed "against Alexander Lukashenko's personality, but not against the people of Belarus". Let us put it straight:
this interpretation is preposterous. Needless to remind that the Head of any State above all represents the people of the state, - and in case of Belarus it is more than relevant taking into account an enormous number of voters, who for the second time showed confidence in the incumbent President.
Your decision is an act of disrespect not only to the Belarusian President but, first of all, to the Belarusian people. This is the hard reality whatever propaganda coverage or explanations are given.

You have not issued the President a visa on the allegation that "human rights are being systematically violated" in Belarus. Let us not forget the fact that NATO is not an organization entitled by the international community with a mandate to take decisions on issues of internal political development of states - furthermore, of those states that are not its members, to substitute the United Nations and OSCE, the organizations which have not taken and will not take such decisions. Let us say more on the real human rights situation. Is Belarus known to the international community for having confessional or ethnic conflicts on its territory?
Is Belarus known for giving asylum to international terrorists? Is Belarus known for having developed an ugly practice of taking hostages and using them as slaves?

Is Belarus known as territory where in the beginning of the third 'millennium the footage of tortures of these hostages shocking the European and American communities is being taken?
Or is it on the territory of our state that eighty-year-old people are being openly and viciously victimized: those who in a different political situation served their people the way they perceived as correct and under oath fulfilled the orders of their commanding officers?
Probably the real reason is different.
Probably the reason is that for some politicians the right of an independent, sovereign state to determine and pursue its own policy is a priori unacceptable.'
The right of a nation to build its own home without timidly looking back at "a friend from abroad", and to contribute to building a secure European home.
The decision taken by NATO is unprecedented by definition because in the European history there has never been a country and a Head of State who would have been denied an entry visa into Europe. Because there is no such international document that would legitimize your decision.
So what is Belarus "guilty" of vis-a-vis NATO?
Probably, because it was among those few countries which secured real and not Hollywood-style victory over nazism, without which UN, OSCE and NATO would not exist? The victory in the World War II, which took the lives of every fourth Belarusian. It is not in vogue now to recall it in Europe and America.

Or because Belarus was the first one to renounce without any conditions the USSR nuclear legacy, and played a major role in preventing emergence of new nuclear countries in the wake of 1991 ?

Or because it dismantled more conventional arms in the framework of the CFE Treaty than USA, France and Great Britain put together, - solely at its own expense, when other Treaty members, including NATO countries, rejected to provide us with financial support for these purposes?

Probably, the "guilt" of Belarus is that we hold up 150-200 thousand illegal immigrants on our territory, who strive to penetrate Europe and who flooded the country after the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan?
Europe will never be able to resolve this issue without us!
Probably, the "guilt" of Belarus is that each and every day we stop an unprecedented flow of drugs riding to the West at the crest of the migration avalanche, and suppress the flow of arms and nuclear materials coming the opposite way and destined to wind up in the hands of terrorists? Only during the last few months we have intercepted at our border three attempts to smuggle through fissile materials!
Is this not, to your mind, a contribution to Europe's security?
Is this not a contribution to the anti-terrorist coalition?
Or the "guilt" of my country is that it actively and constructively took part in the work of the Euro Atlantic Partnership Council, being its full-fledged member?
In this regard one can only regret that you have practically thrown away as "not wanted" one of the basic principles of the EAPC - the principle of non-discriminatory inclusiveness which states that the EAPC "will be open to all Allies and Partners equally".

It is deplorable that such a responsible international organization as the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council is in fact being deprived of a high privilege to be referred to as a responsible organization.
A decision taken by NATO undermines the only and the very essentials that can save the civilized world - unity and solidarity of the states, their united front in the war - in the hard-edged deadly war -against terrorism and new most serious threats of the 21st century.

Is this - dissociation and squabbles - that the peoples of the world want of the European and the USA leaders? No, this is exactly what "Al Qaeda" and its allies want. I
Then who will benefit from such a decision?
Why then one needs to pay lip-service broadly announcing "merciless fight against terrorism in all its forms" and "united antiterrorist coalition"?
. Your decision regarding Belarus is the best attestation of the "fight" and the "unity"!
This is not the way coalitions are built. This is the way they are destroyed.
Distinguished Mr. Secretary General. Distinguished Gentlemen.
On behalf of the President of the Republic of Belarus I would like to state with all responsibility; we are not going to follow the way we are being pushed to.
We are not going to follow the way of petty bickering contention and undermining the coalition of the civilization against terrorism.

Belarus lost so many of its sons and daughters in the last war, that we are ready to and shall do our utmost to avert a new tragedy for our own as well as other nations. Given the potential of Belarusian military industrial and scientific complex, the country's strategic location, we do not have the right to abandon the responsibility for participation in the coalition.

Notwithstanding the NATO's decision which is unprecedented by its consequences, the Republic of Belarus has determined that it will continue and intensify its contribution to the common cause of the coalition.

We invite to our country an exercise in the PfP framework on combating radiological threat, which is a realistic challenge posed by terrorists nowadays. Following the Chernobyl disaster, we gained a sad and a unique experience in this field, and we are ready to share it.

We contribute a rescue team to the assets of the EADRCC, which can be deployed independently in Central and Eastern Europe to provide urgent assistance in overcoming consequences of a possible nuclear, biological and chemical attack.

We provide a fully equipped training ground of the Ministry for Emergencies as a PfP regional training centre for rescue experts.

We propose that NATO member states and other European countries of our region, including Belarus, work out a Partnership Action Plan to implement an in-depth region-specific cooperation in border control, combating illegal migration, illicit trade in arms and nuclear, biological and chemical materials. The plan should also envisage enhanced security of nuclear power plants, which are particularly vulnerable to terrorist attacks, as well as other strategic energy facilities, i.e. oil and gas pipelines leading to Europe.

We propose to provide training of special antiterrorist forces units of our Central Asian partners at Belarusian bases and by our top-class professionals.

We are of the view that such contribution to a common cause of the Partnership would do credit to any state.
Does it deserve a reaction of the kind we had on behalf of the Alliance?
I hope the NATO would reconsider the situation and would take up a different, adequate to the new challenges, serious indeed, well-balanced and responsible attitude.

In conclusion I would not ask for forgiveness for the harsh words. These were warranted by harsh NATO anti-Belarusian actions.
I invite each of you to ask yourself the last and quite simple question:
if you in fact wring the arm of those who are ready to fight hand in hand with you against terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, trafficking and other threats, of those who are not merely ready, but indeed are combating them - where are you going to look for allies in the near future then?

It is easy to lose partners and allies. But they are hard to find.
The Republic of Belarus has made its choice.
Now the choice is yours.

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